bookshelf design

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Bookshelf Design (How to Style a Bookshelf)

Do you have a boring bookshelf that needs a little style or what about open shelving in the kitchen that you have no clue what to do with? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Bookshelf design can be intimidating. It seems like something that only interior designers can pull off. But it’s actually pretty easy if you follow the designer tricks. I’ll show 18 of these tricks to help you create your own Instagram worthy bookshelf.

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Choose Your Style


My first tip is decide on a style or color scheme before you start and this will help create a cohesive look for your shelf. Keep this in mind while shopping and picking out the items for your bookshelf. Above everything is white, bright and simple.

Start with Large Items


Start your styling with your largest items and space them out among different shelves. This will add visual interest to your display.

Place Books Vertically & Horizontal


Another way to add interest to your bookshelf is to change up the orientation of your books. To do this select small clusters of books that are about the same size and put some vertical and some horizontal.

Add Small Décor


Next add in small décor and be sure to vary the height of the different objects on the shelves to add depth and interest. If you don’t have small décor take a trip to the thrift store or shop your house!

Mix Materials for Stylish Bookshelf Design


Try a variety of materials such as glass, wicker and different metals to add interest while still keeping the same style to unite the items. Like here all items have a beachy or boho vibe with an assortment of materials.

Place Smaller Objects in Trays


Placing smaller objects in trays gives a designer look and adds another layer of interest to your shelves. Trays are an easy way to make mis-matched items work together flawlessly.

Paint the Back of Your Shelves


Don’t be afraid to paint the back of your bookshelves. Here the black creates a beautiful, modern contrast with the white items on the shelf. A bright color would also be fun and add a pop to your room.

Add Pretty Storage for the Best Bookshelf Design


You can easily add functional and beautiful storage with baskets. I always add a couple of baskets at the bottom of my shelves to contain the clutter. They are my go-to sort it out later baskets. You could also add small baskets or boxes throughout for little items.

Display Books Like Art


Take your favorite books or those with the prettiest covers and show them off on your bookshelf.  Think of your books as mini pieces of art.

Repeat Colors in Your Bookshelf Design


To create a cohesive look my tip is choose one color and repeat it throughout your décor. For example, here they use white accessories that are repeated in several of the items to give the display a unified look.

Place Objects on Book Stacks


Place your smallest items on some of your horizontal book stacks for that designer look.  The fun part is finding those small objects that work like little statues, pretty rocks, candles or ceramics.

Group Items in Odd Numbers


I don’t know why it works but it does, things look better in odd numbered groupings. A grouping of three works great like these three vases on the bottom left.

Vary the Height and Scale of Objects


Add depth to your display by varying tall, short and medium items as well as skinny and larger items.  This will instantly add interest to your display.

Add Plants for Pro Bookshelf Styling


Take a tip from the professional stylists and add life to your bookshelves, literally. Plants instantly liven up a space so add some of them into your bookshelf décor. Flowers work great too!

Add Framed Photos and Art


Adding framed art and photos is an easy way to personalize your bookcase. Try framing your kids’ art in a beautiful frame to really make it pop!

Don’t overlook Ordinary Object as Décor


Look around your house for objects that could work on your bookshelf. Ordinary objects like a camera, a clock or a mug will add your personality to your display, especially if they represent a passion of yours. Your home should tell a story about the person or people that live there and this is one way to do that.

Add Natural Elements


Incorporate natural elements into your display like wood, wicker, shells or pinecones to add warmth to your home.

Keep Evolving Your Style

My last tip is to keep changing your display. In the fall add some pumpkins and flowers in the spring. Pick up treasures from travels and incorporate them into your display. Little changes are a fun way to keep your décor fresh and interesting.

There you have it. I’ve shown you 18 tips to create a designer bookshelf. The most important thing is to have fun with it! Your bookshelves should reflect you, your style and your life. I hope that you got inspired to try something new with your bookshelf design. Feel free to save your favorite ideas to your Pinterest boards, just click on the Red P on the picture.

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